[March, 1996] Blah, Blah, I-Love-You, Blah
Bradley and I spoke on the phone for 6 ½ hours on Thursday night (early Friday morning). I called him at midnight and at 3:00 the stupid fax machine* disconnected us but he called me right back and we talked until I had to get ready for school. Right before we got off the phone I told him I loved him. He said, “I love you too” and then neither of us spoke for a few seconds.
[So this was a pretty big deal. I never said “I love you” to a boy before and I remember the feeling right before I said it. It was the same visceral sensation I had a few years prior when I dove off a 20 foot cliff into water: heart-pounding trepidation and a sense of plummeting mixed with exhilaration. Except it makes me cringe to remember it, because I said the words at the exact same time he started saying something else, so he didn’t hear me at first. He stopped talking and I had to repeat myself. Awkward much? At least I didn’t end up with a giant wedgie like I did when I jumped off the cliff. Small mercies, etc.]
It makes me so nervous to relive it (which I’ve done endlessly the past two days). But wow, 6 ½ hours. That’s longer than I’ve talked even with Anita. The conversation was great. He told me all these stories about himself (like the one I was the most curious about, how he ended up in Alaska) and I just loved listening to him talk. And he’s so funny, too, we were racking each other up the whole night. Of course there were the creepy “coincidences” too. The scariest one was that we both hate rap (and country) but love the song “Gangsta’s Paradise.” And we both use the exact same pen (Pilot Precise V5—we even both bought a box of them). Ah, it’s just too good. No, not good—phenomenal.
[It’s funny how similarities that seem like these massive or even creepy “coincidences” don’t have the same resonance in retrospect. I’ve met many people since then who don’t like rap or country but do like “Gangta’s Paradise.” It’s a genre-defying song and actually has a larger goth vibe than it does what might typically be considered rap. I’ve even heard it played at goth clubs a couple of times. And those Pilot pens? I’m sure at least one person reading this is a fan of them, too (or was, before electronic communication took over).
As for why Bradley ended up in Alaska, let’s just say there was trouble at home, he wasn’t doing well in school, and needed a fresh start. If that sets off any warning bells for you, it sure didn’t for me when I was 18.]
Yesterday was a strange day. I was emotionally… mm, shaken, I guess and I was also so exhausted from staying up all night so my mindstate was weird. It got better as the day progressed. I took an hour-long nap when my college class ended (on some couches in the building). Then I walked to the Village, I had some time to kill before going over to Mindy’s house.
[Placeholder for stuff about Mindy’s I deleted because it was a non-sequitor and not all that interesting.]
But back to those three little words. I do remember the disoriented feeling the next day, partly out of sleep deprivation and partly because I wasn’t 100% that I got the timing right on saying “I love you”—actually, I quite literally didn’t. But even from an emotional perspective, I questioned whether I may have rushed saying it, even though I felt it. He did say it back, but who’s to say he wasn’t being polite? It’s easier to subvert the “I love you, too” in person than it is over the phone, where non-verbal gestures like a hug or kiss can’t substitute verbal reciprocity. Until I had reason to believe otherwise, I’d have to believe he meant it.